A significant proportion of the work of the Commission is initiated by employers, employees and their representatives when they make applications to the Commission to deal with workplace relations matters.
Applications are initiated by the lodgment of a form and there are over a 100 such forms available on the Commission's website. Forms correspond to the particular sections of the Fair Work Act where the Commission has a role in assisting with or determining disputes and issues.
Other Commission statutory functions, such as the 4 yearly review of modern awards and the regulation of registered organisations, are not initiated by an application.
Applications are referred to Members of the Commission who make decisions about issues or who assist parties to resolve disputes via conciliation. Senior staff also assist with conciliation in unfair dismissal, general protections (involving dismissal) and anti-bullying matters and a limited number of senior staff, make decisions about right of entry permits.
Hearings and conferences are convened to bring the parties together to hear both sides of the dispute, to assist to resolve informally via conciliation or to resolve more formally through the testing of evidence, witnesses and the application of the law.
Decisions, orders and statements made on applications are typically published on the Commission's website at the time the decision is issued to the parties or shortly thereafter.